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Google to pay French newspapers €60m to help build their online presence

Google has agreed to pay €60m to help French newspapers develop their internet presence following two months of negotiations with the country’s president Francois Hollande.

Described as a “historic agreement” by Google chairman Eric Schmidt, the US group will also supply advertising to the websites and pay a share of those revenues, according to the Financial Times.

Hollande had previously threatened to force Google through legislation to pay a share of its revenue from links to articles if it failed to reach a deal with the publishers.

But the president struck a deal with Schmidt in Paris and announced the agreement, worth around £51.8m, on Friday evening.

According to the FT, Google had previously rejected French publishers’ demands that it should pay for displaying snippets and links to articles.

A blog post by Schmidt on Friday said:

Google has worked with news publishers around the globe for years to help them make the most of the web. Our search engine generates billions of clicks each month, and our advertising solutions (in which we have invested billions of dollars) help them make money from that traffic. And last year, we launched Google Play, which offers new opportunities for publishers to make money—including through paid subscriptions. A healthy news industry is important for Google and our partners, and it is essential to a free society.

Today I announced with President Hollande of France two new initiatives to help stimulate innovation and increase revenues for French publishers. First, Google has agreed to create a €60 million Digital Publishing Innovation Fund to help support transformative digital publishing initiatives for French readers. Second, Google will deepen our partnership with French publishers to help increase their online revenues using our advertising technology.

This exciting announcement builds on the commitments we made in 2011 to increase our investment in France—including our Cultural Institute in Paris to help preserve amazing cultural treasures such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. These agreements show that through business and technology partnerships we can help stimulate digital innovation for the benefit of consumers, our partners and the wider web.

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